Gas storage in the Bergermeerpolder is safe

14th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Gas can be stored in the Berger Lake polder between Alkmaar and Bergen, and will not lead to a higher earthquake shock risk, according to research by MIT, reported Trouw.

The Netherlands -- Research into the safety of reusing Bergen Lake gas field has been conducted by the American research institute MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) at the request of Maria van der Hoeven (economic affairs minister), as a 'second opinion' following previous research by TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research).

Van der Hoeven announced to the lower House of parliament on Monday that the American counter-evaluation confirms the main TNO conclusions.

Concerned residents and Bergen municipality fear that reusing the gas field which is now temporary gas storage would lead to more earthquakes. During the exploitation of the field, several earthquakes occurred that caused damage to houses and other buildings.

The probability of an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.9 on the Richter scale is less than one percent according to both TNO and MIT researchers. The fault line in the earth is longer than previously assumed but this is not significant, according to the American researchers, because it's situated precisely in a small 'motion sensitive' area.

The minister is looking for gas storage locations because the large field in Groningen is slowly but surely running out. In order to have enough gas to accommodate peak winter demand, gas from Russia and elsewhere outside the Netherlands is stored underground in empty gas fields.

Gas storage facilities are also important for the Netherlands to remain a transit country for natural gas. The government strives to make the country the 'gas hub' of Europe.

Vanessa Andreae / Expatica

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